First and Ten: UTEP Miners (1-4) at FIU Panthers (3-3)
The halfway point of the season is officially here as the UTEP Miners (1-4) prepare for a road trip to Miami, FL to take on the FIU Panthers. The Miners are winless in C-USA and looking to snap their four-game losing streak while the Panthers (3-3) enter this one riding a two-game win streak, but also 1-2 in conference play.
The hosts looked great last week against a similar themed school to the Miners against Charlotte in their 48-23 drubbing of the 49ers. This is, in large part, is due to their stellar running duo of Napoleon Maxwell and Anthony Jones as both backs eclipsed the 100 yards mark. The Miners are coming off of their second bye week of the season after falling two weeks ago to UTSA on Homecoming Night 26-16. UTEP will be looking to continue their ground-and-pound styled offense with Treyvon Hughes as the Halfback has punched it in for five scores so far on the season.
FIU features a balanced offense in addition to their third lethal RB D’Vonte Price and QB James Morgan. The Panthers average 213 yards on the ground and 207 yards through the air. The Miners are trending downwards in some FBS stats such as total offense (7th worst) and penalty yards per game (14th worst). Not all is bad for the Miners though, UTEP has converted on fourth down seven out of eight attempts and K Gavin Baechle has seven out of eight field goal attempts as well. In the end, the Panthers are rolling and will make no exception for the Miners in this one. FIU 26-3
This is a relatively new series for both teams that dates back to 2013 where FIU leads 2-1. The Panthers have won three of their last four games and have also scored 92 points combined in their last two games. The Eastern Time Zone is a dangerous area for the Miners where they hold a record of 0-23-1 in games back east. UTEP has scored all but once in the redzone this season going 15 for 16, it will be interesting to see if they can find themselves inside the 20 yard line more times than usual. In conclusion, FIU will be too much for UTEP, Panthers run away with this one. FIU 40-17.
The Panthers are adept at taking care of the ball as they find themselves in first place for the category in C-USA and ninth overall having given the ball away only five times this season. This will be a key for the Miners who will not only need to take care of the ball themselves but also attempt to take it away from the Panthers. Break the trends. This Miners defense could really benefit from some big plays on their end to try and give Kai Locksley and Brandon Jones the best field position possible. Overall, FIU is a team with momentum while the Miners are still searching for their first bit of it since August 31st. FIU 52-6.
This time around we’ll be starting things off an hour earlier than usual at 3:45 for Miners First and Ten on the airwaves (600 AM) and the 600 ESPN El Paso App. We’ll send it over to Jon, Bernie, and Mando for the Longhorn Distributing Countdown to Kickoff at 4. The game-time broadcast will start immediately after pre-game at 5.
Stay tuned after the game for another edition of MinerTalk as well.
(All times Mountain Standard and pm)